E. A. Prichard out

When Ed Prichard was going to charge me ¼ of your Dad's estate for his fee

"I also would like you to be at least courteous to my friends. They know you do not want them around so you may not see much of them. They are people who helped me when I was desperately in need of help and had no place to turn.  Joanne especially was helpful. When [1] Ed Prichard was going to charge me ¼ of your Dad's estate for his fee and [2] Shalloway had a mental break down when he was going to work on the estate it was Joanne who helped me by explaining what I had to do.  She did not want to be a co-trustee but I begged her and she agreed reluctantly tho she had never done it for anyone else. I still think [3] you owe her an apology and a box of candy or bouquet of flowers. Better late than never.  And I would feel ever so much better. Please. Just treat my friends like you want me to treat yours. ..."
(From Jean O'Connell's letter of September 6, 1988, to Anthony O'Connell)



History suggests that the accountants advised Jean O'Connell to not pay E. A. Prichard or Philip Shalloway for their services in full because it guarantees that their relationship with Jean O'Connell will terminate. It is unlike Jean O'Connell to not fully pay for services. Jean O'Connell's correspondence makes her look bad. Please remember that she is being advised by the accountants and as Jean O'Connell's memos show, the accountants do not leave document trails of their instructions that make their clients do things such as this.

The Will of Jean O'Connell that E. A. Prichard prepared in 1974 was the same as the Will of H. A. O'Connell that E. A. Prichard prepared in 1974. A new will for Jean O'Connell was not necessary after H. A. O'Connell's death. I would have been sole executor.

E. A. Prichard was not going to charge Jean O'Connell 1/4 of our dad's estate for his fee. After he retired and kept his office at McQuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe, he did not charge me for many, if any, of his services concerning Jean O'Connell's estate.


1975.05.26   Death of H. A. O'Connell

1975.06.03   (E. A. Prichard to Jean O'Connell)
"Enclosed herewish you will find a copy of Mr. O'Connell's will which was executed in our offices on April 11, 1974. When you are ready to have the Will probated, please let us know and we will be happy to have someone from our firm accompany you to the Court House with the original Will.
Sincerely yours, E. A. Prichard"


1975.06.30   (Munford Yates to Jean O'Connell)
"At your request,  enclosed find the original of your will.
Very truly yours, Munford R. Yates, Jr."


1975.07.30   (E. A. Prichard to Jean O'Connell)
"A check for $5,000.00, payable t o you, has been received in this office from the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Company. We have tried to contact you by telephone, but haven't received any answer. Please let me know whether you want me to mail the check to you, or if you would prefer to pick it up.
Very truly yours, Edgar Allen Prichard"


1975.08.04   (Mary Tavenner to Jean O'Connell) (paralegal assistant to Mr. Yates)
"Enclosed is a check payable to you for $5,000.00 from Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Company. Also enclosed are form 712s received in this office from Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Company, and from the veterans Administration. Mr. Yates will be returning from his vacation on August 11. If you have any questions, give him a call then.
Very truly yours, Mary Lynn Tavenner
Paralegal Assistant to Mr. Yates"


1975.09.10   (Munford Yates to Jean O'Connell)
"RE: Estate of Harold A. O'Connell
Dear Mrs. O'Connell:
Enclosed find the responses we received from Washington-Lee Savings and Loan Association and from Civil Service. My file indicates that no letter was ever sent to Northern Virginia Bank.
Since the responsibility of this firm ended on June 26, 1975, I enclose our statement for services rendered which is based solely on time expended by this firm.
Very truly yours, Munford R. Yates, Jr."
1975.08.15 (See the reference in pdf for the enclosure from the Civil Service)
1975.09.10   (Enclosure to above)
(Statement from Boothe, Prichard & Dudley to Jean O'Connell)
For professional services rendered  June 197 5, including review of estate planning file; obtaining will from safe; preparation of  memorandum and list heirs; telephone conferences Mrs. OConnell and conference Mr. Prichard and Mr. Yates; conference M r . Prichard, Mr. Yates and Mrs. OConnell on June 18, 1975; appearance before Clerk of Court to obtain qualification of  Mrs. OConnell as Executrix; set up files; letters t o banks, Civil Service and insurance companies to obtain requisite information and forms; conferences with Mrs. OConnell re: valuation of real property; review of real estate assessment; conference Mrs. O'Connell re: return of papers; review and transmittal of responses; transmittal of insurance proceeds; finalization of file $696.00


1975.10.12   (Jean OConnell to E. A. Prichard)
"I have recently received a bill from Mr. Yates for $696.00.
Because of the exotic size of this bill I have asked the advice of a business man of long standing in Alexandria, a friend and client of some members of your firm, who advises me that the exorbitance of Mr. Yates' bill is probably due to a clerical process which does not correctly reflect the services performed and not performed.
I am enclosing a check for $210.00 based on the 3 ¼ hours I was with Mr. Yates at $60.00 an hour.  This amount seems very generous considering how little of the time was actually used for the preparation of an estate tax, the purpose for which I made the appointment.
If this is not satisfactory I would appreciate an itemized account of each charge which I would like to present to the Bar Association and to a consumers TV program.
Yours truly, Jean M. OConnell (Mrs. H. A.)"


1975.10.17   (E. A. Prichard to Jean O'Connell)
"I have your letter of October 12, 1975, enclosing your check in the amount of $210.00 which I return herewith. I also enclose a Xerox copy of the time record showing the services which were performed and the amount of time for each service. Mr. Yates appears as "MRY", Mrs. Tavenner as "MLT" and Mrs. Singer as "PHS". As explained when we talked last spring, Mrs. Singer and Mrs. Tavenner are paralegals. You will also note that I deleted a charge for my own time so that I have charged you nothing.
Sincerely yours, E. A. Prichard"
(See the reference in pdf for the enclosure of time record)


1975.10.25   (Jean OConnell to Mumford Yates)
"I find your bill incredible.  Unless there is some mistake in it I feel forced to ask for help in settling it.  As is I plan to ask a review of it by the Bar Assoc. and a consumers program.
My complaints are:

  1. For a telephone call from me to you asking for an appointment to do my husband's estate tax you are charging me $105.00 (see first 8 items on the billing report.) Is it customary to charge for asking for an appointment?
  2. The day of the appointment, June 18th, 5.3 hours is listed, 10:00 a.m. to 3:18 p.m.! I don't believe it.  How about 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No way am I responsible for your late 2 hour lunch hour.
  3. Following my return home from that meeting I called you and asked that all work on the estate tax be stopped- no letters to be sent out and no appraisals to be made etc., as I felt you were pressuring me into moving from my home so you could have the property leased. From the time I asked you to stop work until I picked up my papers your billing report is very busy including legal, paralegal fees, etc, for 7.6 hours at $215.00. How can this be?
  4. On June 26th I stopped at the receptionist's desk to pick up the papers. No conference of any kind but you were courteous enough to put the envelope in my car parked near the door.  A courtesy for which I was charged $25.00!
  5. June 30th. For the return of my will (made out last year and well paid for at that time) $10.00!
  6. In spite of asking you not to send for bank statements, insurance, etc. as I was doing it you did so charging me $12.50 for receiving an insurance check and then $15.00 to forward it to me. Incredible!

I have lived in this county for 38 years and have many friends in similar circumstances to mine. None with whom I have discussed this have experienced such treatment. Certainly it inspires no confidence in the legal community and a lot less in your firm.
Enclosed is a check for $210.00 for the 3 ½ hours at $60.00 which I feel is very much more than ample.


1975.11.11   (Jean OConnell to Arnold B. Kassabian)
"I understand that a former client of a country lawyer may appeal to the Bar Association through you when they feel they have been unfairly charged:
I would appreciate such a review of my bill from Mr. Munford
Yates. Briefly the situation:
Following the death of my husband I called Mr. Prichard' office to have the forms for the estate taxes made out, and was referred to Mr. Munford Yates.  The appointment was made to meet with him June 18 at 10:00(?) a.m. to which I was to bring all the pertinent papers. Of some papers he had copies made while I was there and returned them to me then.  He took me to the Clerk of the Court's office for the qualification of myself as executor, and I left for home about 1:30 p.m.
Upon returning home I had second thoughts about the process of how a very simple uncomplicated estate was being handled, and felt I was being maneuvered into leasing or selling my home which I did not wish to do.  I called Mr. Yates that same afternoon and asked him to hold everything. No appraisals, no letters to banks or annuity or insurance requests, etc. to be made by him, and said I would call him within 2 days about my final decision. This I did and made an appointment to pick up my remaining papers on June 26th. It was quite clear to me then that Mr. Yates was not about to take care of my affairs as I wished and I wanted him to know positively that all services were terminated.
For the 3 ½ hours with Mr. Yates I felt his $696 bill (copy enclosed) was exotically exorbitant and sent him $210 (3 ½ hours at $60 per hour), hoping to get this settled quickly. The conference was a complete waste of my time.  I received my qualification as executor which I could easily have done myself and a complete distrust of the legal profession which may or may not turn out to be a benefit.
The estate is a simple affair consisting of 2 pieces of real estate (the home and an unimproved piece) both paid for years ago, one savings account, one checking account, a few certificates of deposit, two stocks an annuity and Veterans and Civil Service insurance.
An itemized account of Mr. Yates bill is enclosed.
The first item appears to be $25 for Mr. Prichard's office to refer my request for an appointment to Mr. Yates, and the second item of $40 seems to be his call to me setting the time of the appointment and what papers to bring, and the third item of another $40 for looking at my husband's will (drawn up in Mr. Prichard's office last year and well paid for then) and making a list of heirs - me. Then $12 for another review. So before I even get there with my paper's I'm billed $117.00! (Mr. Prichard removed the $36 for his services so it is not included here.)
For the appointment itself the bill is $265 for 5.3 hours. I was there at 10:00 a.m. and left about 1:30 p.m. or 3 ½ hours (used as explained above). Even if Mr. Yates felt the need of a long lunch hour I do not think I should be charged for it.
The next 8 items totaling 7.6 hours and $215 appear to be for nothing as I had asked Mr. Yates to terminate any actions on June 18th.
The next item of $25, listed as "conference and memo" was actually just giving me back the envelope of remaining papers.  No conference or memo of any kind.
Then comes $10 for sending me my will (drawn up last year in Mr. Prichard's office and retained there) which Mr. Yates had not been able to give me when I picked up my papers.
The last 4 items - $52.50 - appear to be more padding, and was actually the simple process of sending me a life insurance check.  Even though I asked him on June 18th not to apply for it he did, wrote that he had received it and was unable to contact me, and for me to call his office.  I did call and asked to have the check sent to me. Even if I had asked him to send for it is it proper to have such a simple thing worked up to a $52.50 procedure?
I feel Mr. Yates has taken advantage of me in a very gross manner and hope that I have given you enough information to be able to do whatever a Review Board does, hopefully resulting in a fair settlement and soon. I am preparing a letter to a Consumer TV program hoping they also may be able to help me.
Thank you for any consideration you can give to this problem.  I would appreciate an early answer either by phone (971-2855) or note.
Sincerely, Mrs. Jean OConnell
P.S.  Sorry about the typing. I am a better cook."


1975.12.26   (Munford Yates to Jean O'Connell)
"RE: Estate of Harold A. O'Connell
Dear Mrs. O'Connell:
Please be advised that this firm is negotiating the $210.00 check which you submitted in payment of our $696.00 statement of September 10, which statement was later reduced to $685.00 by Mr. Prichard.
I have also been authorized to advise you that this firm will make no efforts to recover the remainder of such fee, and that we are closing our file in this matter.
Very truly yours, Munford R. Yates, Jr."


1976.1.3   (Jean OConnell's memo on Robert Whitestone's letter)
"Jan . 3   Thanked Mr. W. for prompt & effective attention to complaint. Also that Mr. Yates letter satisfactorily concluded my complaint against him."


Amendment prepared by Victor L. Mintor of the CPA Firm of Stanton, Mintor and Bruner to the 1974 Virginia individual income tax return (Form 760) for H. A. and Jean O'Connell. I do not know for certain whether Joanne Barnes worked for this CPA Firm. I believe the "Bruner" in "Stanton, Mintor and Bruner" may be the same "Bruner" in "Bruner, Kane, and McCarthy, Ltd.".